Trail in the middle of nowhere
This photo was taken about 2 or 3 miles from the start of the trail near the visitor's center. Once the trail climbs up the ridge, it enters a broad flat plain and wanders for a couple of miles. Although its not too far away from "civilization", it feels like the middle of nowhere.
In the middle of nowhere
After climbing up a semi-steep ridge, the trail leveled off into a broad flat area which felt miles away from everything. Walking on a narrow dirt trail across this wide open expanse with not another soul in sight, I stopped, took off my pack and opened a can of Redbull. Sitting in this arid field overlooking the gaping abyss of the monument or a chilly yet clear mid-November day, it occurred to me that this was a pretty good place to be.
Black Ridge Trail
Black Ridge is a 12 mile hike through the Black Ridge wilderness area which provides views as far as the canyonlands of Utah. Black Ridge is the highest trail within the monument's boundaries. Portions of this rugged area have been designated as wilderness.
The first couple of miles of the trail had a few minor elevation changes, but were not particularly difficult. The trail levels out after a couple of miles and crosses a flat expanse of the plateau. It feels like the middle of nowhere even after a few short easy miles.
Hiking Black Ridge Trail
This is about as steep as the trail gets. Its not too bad, and it doesn't head uphill for too long. From this vantage point, Grand Junction is almost visible below.
There are about 40 or so miles of hiking trails within Colorado National Monument. Overnight camping is permitted here as well, without a fee. One of the advantages of such an uncrowded area.